Payroll Services Garnishments


Some of the more frequently asked questions regarding garnishments and their answers are listed below. If you still have questions after reading through them please feel free to contact the Garnishments Desk by email at or by calling (509) 335-9575.

What is a garnishment?

A garnishment is a legal order to withhold a specified sum from your wages to satisfy a debt in accordance with the federal wage garnishment law.

What is a Levy?

A Levy, Earnings Withholding Order or a Wage Assignment is the legal terminology for a garnishment.

What is the difference between those terms?

Different agencies use different terminology for the garnishment. The Sheriff’s Department uses the term Wage Assignment. The Federal Government calls it a Levy and the State refers to it as a Earnings Withholding Order. The child support agencies, District Attorney, Family Support Divisions, call it a wage assignment.

How much can you take from my checks?

Washington State University is required to deduct a portion of your salary earned from your future paychecks – it could be as much as 50% or higher in some instances.

Can I have WSU reduce the amount taken?

No. This matter is between you and the taxing agency or firm/person named as plaintiff in the order. Only the issuer of the garnishment has legal authority to modify or release your levy. You may wish to consult your attorney.

Will the garnishment amount be deducted from my net pay?

It depends upon the type of garnishment. For example, a Federal Levy will exempt a predetermine amount of your net pay from levy. Otherwise, the deduction is taken from your “Disposable earnings”

Do I have to pay any fee for my garnishment?

Yes. The fee will depend upon what each state allows and could very from $1.00 up to $8.00 per garnishment per pay period on Child Support orders.  Garnishments with term date of 90 days or less allow for a $30.00 processing fee.

Can I skip a deduction?

No. You must call the appropriate agency or an attorney to get a delay or to work out a different payment arrangement.

How can I have the garnishment stopped?

We must have a written release five days prior to payday in order to stop your deduction.

My garnishment has now been stopped. How long do I have to keep all the paperwork?

It is important to keep all copies of a garnishment for at least seven years. There is a charge for requested copies of garnishment records.

Why is the Statement of Exemption Form Important?

If you get an IRS Levy it’s very important that you complete your Statement of Exemptions form and immediately return it to the Payroll Office! If we don’t receive this Statement of Exemptions forms (Part 4 and 5), then we’ll be forced to give you the default specified by the IRS: single — with one exemption. If this occurs, then each check could be taken down to as little as $431.25. By filling out the form you can receive the exempted amount that you’re legally entitled to! It is also important that you contact the IRS to arrange a payment.